Arctic Melt Speeds Up

Some temps 10 degrees hotter than normal
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Dec 16, 2008 9:27 AM CST
A polar bear falls through thin ice in Hudson Bay off the coast of Churchill, Manitoba in Canada.    (Peter EWINS/WWF-Canada)
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(Newser) – The Arctic is warming faster than the rest of the world, scientists have found, in a phenomenon not expected for at least another decade. This fall, temperatures in some areas of the Arctic were as much as 10 degrees warmer than normal thanks to Arctic amplification, which could mean the Arctic has already passed a “point of no return” in which summers will be ice-free, the Independent reports.

Arctic amplification occurs when the ice melts, leaving the water’s surface darker and thus more heat-absorbent. When the sun sets, that heat is released into the atmosphere, increasing temperatures. Amplification has long been predicted, but scientists now say it’s been happening for the past 5 years. “Simply put, it's a case of we hate to say we told you so, but we did,” said a researcher.